ARKADELPHIA, Ark. – —
East Central University football team had a strong effort but fell to No. 8 Henderson State at Carpenter Haygood Stadium, 63-31, in Great American Conference action.
The Tigers (1-3, 1-3 GAC) were led by sophomore Spencer Bond, who threw for three touchdowns and added a rushing TD. Bond went 26-of-49 passing and added 71 rushing yards. Junior JoJo Snell was the leading receiver, with six catches for 83 yards and a 59-yard receiving TD.
On the defensive side, sophomore Jameel Whitney led ECU with 10 (4-6) total tackles and an interception for 30 yards. Senior Fred Gaines picked up an interception for 30 yards as well, while adding six (5-1) total tackles.
“We lost to a very good football team today,” said head coach Tim McCarty. “Kevin Rodgers is the real deal. Unfortunately we magnified some of his play with poor tackling.”
The Reddies (4-0, 3-0 GAC) wasted no time taking a lead, scoring their first of nine touchdowns of the game, in just 1:10. HSU added a second TD for a 14-0 lead before the Tigers were able to get on the scoreboard.
With 7:18 left in the first quarter, ECU scored the first of 17-straight points when Bond connected with senior George Robbins on a four-yard pass. The pass capped off a 12 play, 81 yard drive that lasted 4:37.
The Tigers added a second TD at 5:22 in the first quarter when Bond hit Snell for a 59-yard passing touchdown. ECU then took their lone lead of the game, with 1:04 left in the opening quarter, on a 24-yard field goal by freshman Trevor Hunt for the 17-14 advantage.
The lead was shorting lived, as the Reddies garnered 28 points in the second quarter to go into the locker room with a 42-17 lead. HSU added 14 more points at the start of the third quarter to push the advantage to 56-17.
The Tigers kept fighting and scored with just 1:04 left in the third quarter. Bond ended a four-play, 12 yard drive with a two-yard rushing touchdown.
ECU added another seven points with 9:02 left in the fourth quarter when Bond connected with freshman David Moore on a 59-yard pass for a 56-31 score.
The Reddies added a final touchdown in the fourth quarter for the final of 63-31.
While both teams had over 75 plays from scrimmage (78-82), the Reddies averaged 9.1 yards per play to the Tigers 5.4. That advantage led to 595 yards of passing and 151 yards rushing for HSU, while ECU recorded 335 yards passing and 83 rushing for the game.
ECU will now return to Norris Field for the 2013 Homecoming game against Northwestern Oklahoma State, Saturday Oct. 5. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m., with the 1993 NAIA National Championship team being honored on field at 3:30 p.m.
Homecoming events begin, Monday, Sept. 30 with a pep rally at Centennial Plaza at 7:30 p.m.